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Publishing and Web Content Management : New in SharePoint 2013 (part 5) - SEO Page Optimization - XML Site Map, Site Design Manager

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XML Site Map

Have you ever seen search results from Google or Bing that include a series of jump links, like that in Figure 14? Search engines determine these useful jump links from sitemap XML. SharePoint 2010 had very little support for sitemap XML for SEO. SharePoint 2013 provides greater support, with the addition of a site collection feature.

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Figure 14. Search engine search results with jump links

  1. Navigate to the root of your publishing site collection.
  2. Click the gear icon.
  3. Select the menu item for site settings.
  4. Click the link for site collection features, under Site Collection Administration header.
  5. Scroll down the page and activate the Search Engine Sitemap feature.

After activating the feature in the preceding steps, SharePoint adds a link into the robots.txt file to the sitemap XML file. SharePoint generates the sitemap XML from the site structure file using a timer job.

Note  You must enable anonymous access on your site collection to use the search engine sitemap.

Site Design Manager

SharePoint 2013 introduces the Design Manager (DM) to assist site designers in branding publishing sites. The Design Manager incorporates uploading and application of design packages, editing of page layouts and master pages, and managing device channels—specific rendering for different devices.

  1. Open your publishing site.
  2. Click the gear icon.
  3. Select the Design Manager menu item.
  4. SharePoint displays the Design Manager welcome page (Figure 15).

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Figure 15. Design Manager in SharePoint 2013

From the DM home page, you should see two links: one to import a design package and another to pick a predefined look. Both of these options essentially deal with themes. Changing the look with a predefined look is pretty much like changing themes in Windows—SharePoint will provide you a series of themes to choose, and then you can try out the look on your site before committing to it.

Device Channels

Device channels allow SharePoint to render different content design for different devices. Each device channel uses criteria in the user agent string as part of every HTTP web request to SharePoint.

Imagine you can define different content based on the functionality of the device accessing SharePoint. For example, Apple iPad will not render Flash content. Using device channels, you can define a channel for Apple devices where SharePoint renders different content in place of any Flash content.

Defining a device channel is as easy as following these steps.

  1. Open your publishing site.
  2. Click the gear icon.
  3. Select the Design Manager menu item.
  4. Click the left navigation link to manage device channels.
  5. On the next page, click the link to create a device channel.
  6. Provide name, description, alias, etc.
  7. Provide substrings of a user agent string to identify the device.
  8. Click the Save button.

Leveraging device channels in publishing pages requires the mobile browsing support feature activated. The publishing features in SharePoint enable mobile support automatically.

SharePoint associates different master pages with different device channels. After you have created a device channel, follow these steps to associate a master page with the channel.

  1. Open your publishing site.
  2. Click the gear icon.
  3. Select the Design Manager menu item.
  4. Click the link for Master Page under the Look and Feel heading.
  5. Select the device channel and associated master page.
  6. Click the OK button to save your changes.
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